Marathon #17 – Chevron Houston Marathon (1/17/16)

IMG_6206.JPG So this was number 17th for me. But it felt like it was just another race. Perhaps I’ve been still tired from all that concrete pounding from New Years Eve and Day in Allen and Kingwood.


 I swore I ate nothing but carbs the day before lol… Thai food with my friend Carlos and Siena for lunch… Just 3 hours before dinner where I met up with Aaron and Zach, folks whom I met from Kingwood. Really nice gesture from Aaron’s folks for covering dinner…

And then we came back home foam rolling and stretching out to our hearts content 🙂

The next day, my friend Carlos took me to the race site. Traffic was nightmare-ish around downtown Houston, as expected lol.

IMG_6243.JPGThis was my pre-race breakfast.. Sushi rice with eel and soy sauce LOL

Race morning. It was interesting how the race started indoors inside the George R. Brown Convention Center. This was the same place where we had our Tri-State Jubilee last year. Its a good idea since the field is about 25,000 big. But the problem is, the port a potties are all INSIDE. So you can imagine how much it could’ve STANK…!!! 💩💩💩💩💩

Unfortunately, I did not get my coffee fixin until 25-30 min before the actual start of the race. AND I was unable to do my pre-race ritual of flushing it out💩😐 lol.


That’s the entrance to the start!

  
   Start line scenery… I think this was quite organized!

  
 Start line and shortly after…


I ran into Richard again… The Maniac who I met in Kingwood who apparently had a knee/ankle injury. But he’s moving along just fine… Lol

I will be brutally honest. I started the race feeling “pointless” and unmotivated. Yes I know I could finish, but man, I didn’t have the excitement as I always did for some reasons. In a state of apathy, I started to ask God to why am I here. I also felt like this was going to be “just an average” run, and for a while, really believed that. At around mile 2, I felt my shins getting tight. And along that came the negative feelings and thoughts. I knew I would be in trouble if I persisted in these thoughts.

 Not to speak of, my lifeproof headphone adapter was breaking. I had already gone through 6-7 of these since I started using the lifeproof case. And worst of all, my lifeproof case had been broken and it was no longer lifeproof! I was so upset that I decided to throw away that stupid case around mile 3-4 ish (right around here… Lol).

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And then I came across this. It was a tent sponsored by 89.3, Houston’s contemporary Christian station. They had a sign earlier that said “We are praying for you!”

Speaking of encouragement. I think that was God sending down a little encouragement for me to keep my head up. So I continued to ask Him to reveal purpose on today’s marathon, as I continued to feel somewhat “lost” spiritually at the moment.

As we were heading through Rice Village, I could feel my shins tightening up again. So I made myself take a walk break. As I was walking, I remembered that racewalker guy from Allen, how he was swifting along at a 11-11:30 min/mile pace walking! I thought, well, I have almost a full marathon to practice race walking.

So I started practicing racewalking right as we were entering Rice village, and I was actually going at a decent 12:30-13:30 min/mi pace! I was just afraid that I won’t make the cutoff of 6 hours (although I had no reason to fear…) . So I decided to keep running.

And I said, God, help me today as I continue this race. Help me to be a light to others, even though I feel empty at this very moment. I don’t know what race I am running, but restore that joy in me to complete it for Your glory today. Show me the purpose of why I am here today.

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And shortly after, I came across Telisa, who is running her qualifying race today to be a maniac!! That was an opportunity for encouragement. Okay. That’s good. I’ve made one move to deflect thoughts about myself and chatting with people out there…

.IMG_6314.JPGOk I don’t know who this is at the time, but I thought he might be a cousin of Oscar the trash can dude from Sesame Street LOL

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I had to stop and get a picture of this!

IMG_6322.JPGHouse of Pies right off Kirby… mmm sounded so good!!

IMG_6334.JPGAnd we split. The full marathon and the half marathon folks are on separate ways…

IMG_6337.JPGThis random stranger had a sign saying “Way to Go Jesse!!” I know it’s for someone else but I had to stop and take a picture with them…

IMG_6345.JPGWe were coming up on Post Oak Blvd.. I LOVE this!!  but how did they came up with 17 beers??!! I don’t think I’d be able to drink 17 beers to refuel lol. But 60 chicken drumsticks sound like a reasonable meal.. LOL

IMG_6343I ran into Aaron, or maybe Aaron caught up to me, by around mile 11-12.

For some reason, my phone was already down to 48% at around mile 11. I was like.. uh.. am I gonna make it to the finish?

IMG_6351.JPGI’m not a Texans fan but hey if this guy is running with a football on his head, it’s just a cakewalk for me! Ha

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Saw Erin on the other side after making the half mark… Apparently she was sick before and later said that the race was horrible…

Coming along the Galleria area… This part of Houston feels like a second downtown except that it’s all fancy and such. Westheimer and Post Oak…

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Belly Dancers…

IMG_6379.JPGMy RuNsane friend Xavier was actually here at the mile 16 aid station. I was like, “what??!! Last time I talked to you you were in San Antonio??!!” He was like, “yeah, long story, but I’m here now”. Oh wow lol.

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Okay so this is a little embarassing. I regret not stopping by a CVS earlier around mile 12. At this point, my phone was already down to the low 40%’s battery life. Thankfully, there was a Walgreens right at the corner of Fountain View and Chimney Rock after the mile 17 mark. I had to take a little detour, went into Walgreens, bought myself a portable charger. Then I realized that it didnt come with a USB cable. So I had to go back to the counter and pick up a USB cable!! Well, that costed me about 10 minutes, but as far as time was concerned, I had plenty to spare. I told one of the race marshalls that I had to stop by Walgreens to get a charger cuz my phone was about to die and he started laughing.. Lol

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This was absolutely hilarious… It made me wanna go faster before the Kenyans chug ’em all!!

Memorial Dr was under construction so honestly the roads were kinda crappy and bumpy.

Also, I had stopped running since around mile 12 (I would intermittently jog every  now and then) and have near completely switched to what I thought was “racewalking”. So the IAAF rules of racewalking states that one foot must stay on the ground at all times. There were times which I felt like I was bouncing up and down too much (maybe I was running??). And I feel as if I may have been doing something wrong.

So now that my phone is charged, around mile 20, I decided thatit would be worthwhile going on YouTube and watch a video on racewalking technique.

This video on Racewalking, that I watched during the marathon, can be found here:

Lol.

So the first thing I was NOT doing was keeping my legs together on a straight line. And I may have been using too much of my legs. I was supposed to twist, but may have gone overboard with it. I had plenty of time.

Coming down Allen Parkway, I was actually going at a good 11:30 to a 13 min/mile pace racewalking. Indeed, I was going faster than some of the people running at the end!

Arriving into Downtown Houston…

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The finish line.. It was kinda dark and blue lol…

I met a few people at the finish, and then caught up with Aaron. I told him about having to stop at Walgreens around mile 17 to get a charger, and how I had to look up on YouTube on how to racewalk, and he busted out laughing. LOL.

In summary… This race was about as good as it can get. I was really sore for a few days after, including my back and legs. The Houston Marathon, #17, gave me some new insights…

First… Racewalking is a technique that may be worthwhile learning. It may or may not be for me, but I cannot be afraid to try, using other marathons for practice.

Second, I know I had been slacking on my quiet times and prayer in the last few weeks. There’s a reason why I felt empty and “pointless” at the start of the race, and this may be exactly why. And it’s not like I’m being super anal about prioritizing this race to the point that it eats up other areas of my life. It was more of a spiritual apathy or lukewarm time period that I went through, and perhaps still something I’m dealing with now. Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on racing and such, but at the same token, I still firmly hold to the fact that this is a gift from God and perhaps something greater will grow out of it. Perhaps I am not getting enough restful sleep or doing enough strength training. Either way, I am hoping to grow stronger both physically, but more importantly, spiritually, as I continue to place deeper trust in God, asking Him to increase my faith [Mark 9:24], not just in my ability to run, but all other aspects of my life. And to continue to seek His Kingdom [Luke 12:31], sincerely and not as a “checklist”.

As of now, thank you God for carrying me through my 17th marathon.

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